We’re going through the New Testament now and we’re trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Much of our time has been spent on the person of Jesus, which is understandable seeing as he is the centerpiece of the New Testament, yet tonight there’s going to be an emphasis on the person of the Spirit. Our text will be John 14:16-18.
16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
This can be seen as a Trinitarian passage with all three persons involved. The Son asks of the Father and the Father sends the Holy Spirit. (If you know to look for these, it can be enjoyable to go through the New Testament and realize when you’ve found such a passage.)
It could be that the word “another” refers to one of the same type. Of course, it could just be this is how John normally says another as he uses a different word for “another” only one time. However, if it means one of the same type, it could be an argument for the deity of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is seen as an advocate and this would be one before the Father. This is what we see going on in Romans 8:26-27 when as we pray, the Spirit himself intercedes with groans that we cannot express. C.S. Lewis spoke of the Trinity at work when someone prays. You have the person praying to the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit. This is another case of the practical outworking of the doctrine of the Trinity. Prayer is a Trinitarian act.
This counselor will be with them forever. I don’t believe this is meant to get into the debate on eternal security which I don’t really touch here, but just to say the Holy Spirit will be with the church throughout the ages.
The Spirit is also called the Spirit of Truth. Truth plays a large part again in the gospel as the Father must be worshipped in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) Jesus has just told us that he is the Truth and now we are told tha tthe Spirit will be the Spirit of Truth. It is he who leads the apostles into all truth.
The world does not see the Spirit. Of course, this does not refer to something physical as the Spirit is not physical and we cannot see the Spirit. What it means is that the world cannot recognize the work of the Spirit. When sanctification is going on in our lives, the world cannot recognize it. When miracles were taking place in the early church, the world could not recognize that either. Remember that Jesus was even accused of casting out devils by Beelzebub.
The Spirit will also be in us, which is something staggering to think about. God was always seen as beyond man. We noted when we started this series that the average reader would have been stunned by John 1:14. The world of the divine and the world of the human did not interact this way. Now, God would not simply indwell a temple, but would rather indwell many temples, that is, the bodies of men. If you are a Christian, consider this for a moment. The third person of the Holy Trinity indwells you.
I hope you’re stunned by that.
Jesus also tells us he will not leave us as orphans but will come to us. One way to look at that is that Jesus’s presence is made known in the work of the Spirit, though this is certainly not to say that Jesus is the Holy Spirit. Some interpreters also think that this refers to the post-resurrection appearances. Of course, it could be both.
We shall continue with this tomorrow.